Prague Travel Guide


About Prague - Old Town

Prague's oldest part, as the name Old Town (in Czech: Staré město) suggests, is mentioned in historical annals in 11th century for the first time. The settlement existed on the right bank of the Vltava river earlier as the very important cross-point and the rest place for business travellers.

The oldest of all 5 Prague historical towns of Prague gained the town privileges in 13th century from king Wenceslas I, just after it has been linked to the second river-bank with the Castle. At that time, the town got a town walls. They are now gone, their route could be traced by Národní, Na příkopě (Pedestrian zone) and Revoluční streets. For example, the Powder Tower, where Royal Way (or King's Route, in Czech: Královská cesta) starts, was built in 15th century on the site of one of the former 13 gates in the Prague's fortification.

Most of the Old Town building are well preserved with Gothic interiors (from the era of Charles IV), built over the Romanesque basements. Many buildings gained a new, baroque facade after great fire in 1689, that spurred a renovation and a rebuilding of the city.

Do not miss in the Old Town

Old Town is easily walk around. You can, for example, follow the Royal Way, the ancient coronation route across the city up to the Prague Castle. It starts at the Powder Tower, and runs through Celetná street to Old Town Square, and then along Karlova street to Charles Bridge. The route then mounts it up on Mostecká and Nerudova streets (in the Lesser Quarter) to the Castle.

The centre of the Old Town has always been the Old Town Square dominated by the Church of Our Lady before Týn and the Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock. Do not miss Jan Hus statue and Baroque St Nicholas Church at the Old Town Sqaure. Along the Royal Way you meet Municipal House (Obecní dům) or one of the largest building complex (after the Castle, of course), former Jesuit college Klementinum.

When in the Old Town, take a short walk along Na Příkopě street (where town walls once fortified the Prague's Old Town), jump to the St Gall's Market and the nearby Theatre of Estates. Convent of Saint Agnes and the nearby Ministry of Industry and Trade (Na Františku) building with glass dome also worth seeing.